LACOMBE — You can’t blame Kyle Morrison if he’s smiling a lot this year.
A year ago the Red Deer native was trying to play golf with a torn ACL, which left him hobbling on one leg. Still he played through the pain and even helped represent RDC at the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference championships in Medicine Hat.
“It wasn’t much fun playing on one leg,” he said. “I wasn’t able to play respectable golf.”
He had his knee operated on in April and it wasn’t until the beginning of Sept. that he returned full time to the golf course.
“I’m almost 100 per cent healthy. I’m running and I can walk 18 holes without any pain,” he explained.
He’s also playing a pretty solid game of golf as he displayed in winning the ACAC North Regional men’s individual championship at the Lacombe Golf and Country Club Sunday.
Morrison put together rounds of 69-74 for a 143 total, four strokes ahead of Mitch Kurtz of Medicine Hat, who had rounds of 74-73. Darren Windle of RDC placed third at 72-77—149.
“I haven’t played much before a couple of weeks ago, so I’m happy with the way it went,” said Morrison. “But then I am competitive and would have liked a better score today.”
Still a 74 was more than respectable in tough windy conditions.
“The greens were also very fast and with the wind and how firm it was it was very difficult conditions,” said Morrison. “Still I didn’t play bad except for No. 14 which I tripled. I should have played it short, instead I went for it and went over. I’ll learn.”
There was a time earlier this season when RDC coach Scott Bergdahl wasn’t sure Morrison would be back this year.
“I could have finished my third year last year, but I love competitive golf and I wanted to play for Scott and with my best friend (Darren). I feel we can do well at the nationals. I also loved playing at this level, with a lot of guys my own age. And it is competitive.”
The RDC men’s and women’s teams both placed second in the team competition behind Grant MacEwan University.
The MacEwan men finished with a 624 total, which included their top four scores each day, and RDC had 629. NAIT came in at 651, Medicine Hat 654 and Olds 663.
Brad Ponich had 80-86—166 for RDC, although his scores didn’t count toward the team total. Jeff Northcott had an 84-84—168 and Branton Tessier a 85-83—168. Breden Oehlerking came in at 88-81—169 and Tyson Dixon 96-88—184.
On the women’s side, GMU had a 344 total, which included the top two scores each day. RDC had a 354, Olds 475 and Augustana 477.
Megan Vermilion of GMU won the individual title with a 90-79—169, eight strokes ahead of RDC’s Kim Swain (93-84) and nine ahead of Jamieson Smeaton of RDC (86-92).
“Overall I was pleased with our men’s team, especially the top two guys,” said Bergdahl. “They had good numbers. Some of the other guys had good rounds, but they can be even better.”
Bergdahl was especially pleased with Morrison’s effort and the fact he’s back with the team.
“He’s really stepped up and is working with the other guys,” he said. “The fact he’s playing and playing so competitively speaks volumes. With him playing so well and if the other step it up in the next couple of weeks I feel we can challenge a team like Grant MacEwan for the team title. We certainly have the talent.”
RDC will compete in the ACAC South Regionals next weekend in Lethbridge and the ACAC finals, Sept. 28-29 in Olds.
Bergdahl also believes his women’s team can compete for an ACAC championship.
“We showed flashes on the weekend. Our best player (Smeaton) was average the first day and not so good the second while our second player (Swain) was poor the first and good the second. If they get it all together for two days in a row we’ll easily compete with MacEwan.”
Melissa Koster had rounds of 92 and 102 for a 194 total while Rochelle French was 109-116—225.